Brian McDermott, the Leeds coach, was pleased by his team’s tenacity as they ground out a hard-fought Super League victory over Wigan last night.
McDermott got the response he wanted after last week’s 32-8 home defeat by Huddersfield but was still frustrated by his team’s inability to finish off their opponents.
The champions led 18-8 after an hour thanks to tries from Ryan Hall, Joel Moon and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, all converted by Kevin Sinfield to take his career points tally beyond 3,500.
But they missed two other glaring chances and Wigan struck back through former Leeds rugby union player Iain Thornley to add to Liam Farrell’s first-half try and set up a tense finish.
“We weren’t great last week but tonight we showed a lot of resilience and a lot of grit to get the game,” McDermott said. “I didn’t think we were great with the ball, although we had two clear-cut chances for tries and bombed them. We’ve a smile on our faces but it was a frustrating win.
“It was a tight game, I thought both teams defended each other out of the game.”
Wigan were hit by the absence of Sam Tomkins, who missed out after picking up a “dead” leg in his club’s last training session. “Leeds are a great team and you can’t turn up here with ordinary errors like we did,” said coach Shaun Wane, whose father passed away this week.
“I lost my dad on Wednesday, which is sad,” he said. “I needed a distraction and wanted to get back in work as soon as I could. It was a poor finish to the week. I was proud of our effort but individual errors cost us.
“The changes affected us,” he added. “It was a late change with Sam and a few people played busted. I still believe we had a team that could come here and win but you have to commend Leeds. They can grind out wins.”
Leeds: Watkins, Vickery, Ablett, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Bailey. Substitutes: Ward, Kirke, Achurch, Moore.
Wigan: Richards, Charnley, Goulding, Hughes, Thornley, Green, Smith, Flower, McIlorum, Crosby, Tuson, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: Dudson, Taylor, L. Tomkins, Burke.
Referee: R Silverwood (RFL)